Alternative Affordable Softwares for Architects

When I started my architectural firm I wanted to purchase the best software. The office I worked at invested in software that I consider as the benchmark in our industry. After carefully deliberating the cost of these software I decided to try alternatives to these programs that didn't break the bank. After tying out several software, these are the software that I personally like.

CAD Drafting Software

Benchmark: Autodesk Autocad ($1050/year) 

Progecad ($499)

Very affordable.
Compatible with autocad files.
Excellent customer support.
Similar interface and commands with Autocad.
Bundled with a huge librarybof 2d & 3d blocks.
PDF to Dwg converter

Can be unstable on huge files.
Crashes occassionally occur.
Sometimes corrupts Autocad files saved in progecad.

Zwcad ($799)

It is a lot more stable than progecad.
Files that are made in Autocad are compatible.
I haven't experience any errors transferring from autocad to Zwcad.

Pricier compared to progecad.

Doublecad (Free)

3D Modeling

Benchmark: Autodesk 3D Studio Max ($1470/year)

Google Sketchup ($695)

Easy to learn and user friendly interface.
Access to a wide variety of free 3d models from google warehouse.
Extensive library of plugins or extensions.
Affordable and lifetime license.
Integratedbe with google maps.

Limited 3d modeling and editing capability.
Plugins are needed if you intend to create complicated models.
No built-in renderer
Unstable when files are very large.
No xref or proxy resulting in huge file sizes.

Rendering Software

Benchmark: Vray ($760)

Lightup ($349)

Real time Rendering of Light and Shadow.
Photo realistic output.
Walk through your Sketchup model with rendered materials, lights and shadows.

Requires powerful computer to function properly.
Takes time to render real time when scenes are large.
Unstable when scenes are large.

Kerkythea (Free)

Office Programs

Benchmark: Microsoft Office ($149.99)

Kingsoft WPS (Free)

Libre Office (Free)

Photo editing Software

Photoshop ($119.88/year)

Gimp (Free)

Project Management

Microsoft Project Standard($589.99)
Gantt Project (Free)

Project Libre (Free)

Open Project (Free)